A few hundred kilometers from Floreana in the Galapagos Island chain, the long thought extinct Giant Galapagos Tortoise may have been rediscovered by scientists. Through the use of time-tested field work and genetic research scientists have learned that the Galapagos Giant Tortoise may still be living on Wolf Volcano. Located on Isabela island's north end, Wolf Volcano is 200 miles north of Floreana Island where the species was a native.
The Giant Galapagos Island Tortoise, C. elephantopus, was thought to be extinct for the past 150 years. Now with the discovery that there are still purebed individuals the Galapagos Conservancy is providing funding in hopes to recover this species.
Of the 84 tortoises DNA tested most show they are hybrids. While 30 of these tortoises are less than 15 years old giving scientists hopes that purebed tortoises still exist.
Galapagos Giant Tortoise Facts
The endangered Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the largest of the tortoises. It is an incredibly long-lived species with one captive tortoise living to be over 150 years old.
- The oldest Giant Galapagos Island Tortoise on record lived to be 152 years old.
- World's largest tortoises, reaching over 550 pounds and 5 feet in length.
- They can survive for up to one year without eating or drinking thanks to a slow metabolism and water storage internally.
- Sleeping for almost 16 hours a day, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise spends its time awake in the sun.
- They eat cactus, leaves, and grass.
Galapagos Conservancy Funds Conservation Efforts
Galapagos Conservancy (GC) is the only non-profit based in the United States dedicated solely to conserving the landscapes and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. It's the world's largest single source of funds for Galapagos conservation.